Mosquitoes near the Kettle Falls Day Use and Group Site Campground have tested positive for the West Nile Virus as conditions this summer at Lake Roosevelt have been optimal for an extraordinarily large mosquito population. The National Parks Service and the Washington Department of Health made the announcement last Friday.
West Nile virus has few or no symptoms in 80 percent of the humans it infects via mosquitoes. In the cases that symptoms occur, people experience fever, headaches, feeling tired, muscle pain, aches, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and rash.
Less than one percent of cases of West Nile are severe and result in neurological disease. Elderly people, very young people and people with weak immune systems are most susceptible.
Serious diseases that come from the virus include West Nile encephalitis, which causes inflammation of the brain and West Nile Meningitis, which causes inflammation of protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
The brain and membranes can also become inflamed from the virus, or the spinal cord itself can also become inflamed, creating a syndrome similar to polio which can cause paralysis.
If you have questions you can contact the NE Washington Tri-County Health Department and go to www.doh.wa.gov/wnv. If people think they have been exposed to the virus, please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (http://www.cdc.gov) for guidance about symptoms.
The National Parks Service asks visitors to protect themselves from mosquitoes during their stay by wearing loose fitting long-sleeved shirts and pants that provide ‘depth’ combined with mosquito repellant. Mosquito activity is strongest at dawn and dusk. Officials are also asking visitors to make sure screen windows and doors on recreational vehicles and tents are in good working order.